Recently there was quite hot news, where Google reportedly will crack down on Adblock and a number of other extensions on Google Chrome, where Google will use Manifest v3 which is said to improve privacy, security and performance.

However, there is one drawback that exists in Manifest v3, where changing this Manifest will not stop malicious extensions, but will actually undermine innovation and reduce the capabilities of existing extensions. Call it a number of Adblocker extensions such as uBlock Origin and Privacy Badger, where both extensions rely on the Manifest v2 API, of course with the update of Manifest v2 to v3 in Google Chrome, the extension will lose its function until extension developer updated their code with Manifest v3 even though it was less effective and still removes the extension’s ability to perform its functions.

Besides the reason that Manifest v3 is said to improve privacy, security and performancethe main reason is apparently because API Manifest v2 is too powerful and known as version webRequest blockingwhich allows the extension to intercept incoming network data and filter it before it is displayed in the browser, for example the Adblocker we usually use.

Quoted from the forum The Registerand Electronic Frontier Foundation,, Google argues that they need to simplify the capabilities of Chrome extensions so that their power to observe and modify page content is not so easily abused by unscrupulous or untrusted extensions. However, doing so will actually limit the capabilities of a good and trusted extension. Additionally, there are still many technical changes in Manifest v3 that affect what extensions can do, such as overrides background pages (process that persists in the background) with “service workers“, which only runs in the background for a limited time. Google also stated that they need to switch from a persistent model to an event-based model to enable Chromium or devices end user empty resources so that the browser doesn’t slow down due to bad extension code.

It’s just that after all, this certainly gets a lot of opposition from many parties, even based on a studies by Ghostery in 2019 then said Google was trying to fix a performance issue that didn’t even exist “Google’s Manifest V3 is trying to solve a performance issue that does not exist,” Reveal Ghostery last week was reported by The Register.

In addition, the differences between Manifest v2 and v3 are clearly different, where Manifest v2.

“Under Manifest v2, extensions are treated like first-class applications with their own persistent execution environment,” said Miagkov and Cyphers. “But under v3, they are treated like accessories, given limited privileges and only allowed to execute reactively.” he continued,

End of Extension With Manifest v2

The bad news is, the Chrome Web Store has stopped accepting Manifest v2 extensions on January 17, 2022 yesterday and it is planned that in January 2023 all extensions with Manifest v2 will be discontinued.

But of course that date can change according to the feedback that users echo.

User Input Failed to Translate

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, or EFF, said that Google listened to feedback from the community, but failed to translate it into the changes it provided.

Where it also reflects that Google is constantly trying to dominate the global browser market, so that other browsers do not have the power to make Google consider other points of view.

In addition, Microsoft Edge, Brave and other Chromium-based browsers seem unable to do much, because their browser foundation consists of the same source.

Meanwhile other competitors like Apple seem to have little interest in competing with Google to form technical direction of the webwhere Apple with its Safari and WebKit seem to want to focus more on saying no to Google’s web technologies than on making the web platform more robust.

While Mozilla seems to fail to reject Google’s plans.

“Instead of following Google into Manifest V3, Mozilla should be fighting tooth and nail against Google’s proposal,” said Miagkov and Cyphers. “It should be absolutely clear that Google acts alone despite overwhelmingly negative community feedback. A proposal cannot become a standard when everyone else stands in opposition. Mozilla’s behavior is obscuring Google’s betrayal of the extensions ecosystem. Moreover, it gives a false sense of competition and consensus when in reality this is one of the prime examples of Google’s market dominance and anti-competitive behavior.”

Google Vs AdBlocker

To counter the perception that Google is suppressing Adblockers by changing Manifest v2 to v3, Google showed a Blog post from 2020 where it contained endorsements from Sofia Lindberg, the tech lead for Eyeo or the creators of Adblock Plus.

“We’ve been very pleased with the close collaboration established between Google’s Chrome Extensions Team and our own engineering team to ensure that ad-blocking extensions will still be available after Manifest v3 takes effect.”

Even so, unfortunately Eyeo’s Adblock Plus is not exactly the same as uBlock Origin or a number of other Adblocks, because Adblock Plus is made by an advertising company that brokers “acceptable ads”.

Then What is the Future of Adblock?

The news in the future is still false and still a mystery, but with the Chrome Web Store having stopped receiving the Manifest v2 extension on January 17, 2022, then of course this can happen, the solution is of course users can use Adblock Plus, besides that it is still unclear whether other Adblocks will still be effective if it had switched to Manifest v3.

What do you think?

Reference : The Register, Electronic Frontier Foundation



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